Statistics bureau gets new head

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 September, 2008, 12:00am

Qinghai vice-governor Ma Jiantang has been appointed head of the National Bureau of Statistics in a reshuffle of central government departments, according to official sources.

Mr Ma, 50, will assume the position as early as today to become the agency's third commissioner since 2006, the sources said.

He will succeed Xie Fuzhan, who has been promoted to director of the State Council Policy Research Office, the Cabinet's top think-tank.

The bureau is a sub-ministry department in charge of collecting and compiling national statistics. Its head usually sits on the central bank's monetary policy committee to advise the State Council.

Mr Ma, a Shandong native, holds a doctorate in economics from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He has also worked with the State Council's Development and Research Centre, a major think-tank.

He held various posts in the State Economic and Trade Commission and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission between 1996 and 2003 before he was transferred to the western province of Qinghai in 2003.

Mainland statistics have often been criticised for inaccuracies and inconsistency. Overseas economists challenge their accuracy and suggest that they are inflated by local officials to exaggerate their achievements or changed to serve political needs.

The bureau came under the spotlight in 2006 when its chief Qiu Xiaohua was sacked after just seven months. He was expelled from the Communist Party last year for taking bribes and having more than one spouse, official media said.